Well, now. This is interesting. Let's review the top three Republican winners in each of the recent three important primary/caucus states.
Iowa - 40 delegates to the GOP national convention
- Huckabee (34%)
- Romney (25%)
- tie: McCain (13%) Thompson (13%)
New Hampshire - 12 delegates
- McCain (37%)
- Romney (32%)
- Huckabee (11%)
Michigan - 60 delegates
- Romney (39%)
- McCain (30%)
- Huckabee (16%)
Interesting that Giuliani hasn't broken into the top three in any of these states. Also of interest: while he had a strong win in Iowa, Huckabee has not garnered a critical percentage of the vote in New Hampshire or Michigan. That doesn't seem to worrisome for the Huckabee campaign on the surface, but the Michigan exit polls indicate that Huckabee's support is slipping among Evangelical Christians and that it is now unlikely that the will win the Republican nomination.
Frank Lockwood, the religion editor for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has been closely following the campaign of the former Arkansas governor. Lockwood posted the following on his blog tonight:
Mike Huckabee lost in Michigan. But the really bad news for Huckabee fans is in the exit polls. They strongly suggest Huckabee won't be able to win the 2008 Republican nomination.Perhaps the Huckabee "bubble" is finally bursting. BTW, check out NPR's really cool primary map that is loaded with information.
Here's why: In order to win, Huckabee must have overwhelming support from evangelical Christians. And he doesn't.
In Iowa, exit polls showed him capturing 46 percent of born-again voters. But his numbers plummeted in New Hampshire and they have not strongly rebounded in Michigan. Exit polling showed Mitt Romney getting 33 percent of the vote among white evangelical or born again voters. Huckabee had just 31 percent. [McCain also fared well, with 21 percent.] These polling numbers suggest New Hampshire was not an aberration. Will Huckabee do better among Southern evangelicals? Perhaps. But he's got to get to 50 percent nationwide. And if he can't win impressively among fellow Christian conservatives, it's hard to see how he'll sway those who reject his religious beliefs.
hat tip: NPR, Bible Belt Blogger